Mike Pence battled low poll numbers and alienated the GOP’s pro-Trump voters
Former US Vice President Mike Pence has ended his 2024 presidential campaign. Representing the Republican Party’s establishment wing, Pence’s full-throated support for Ukraine failed to win over skeptical conservative voters.
Pence announced his withdrawal from the race in a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual summit in Las Vegas on Saturday.
“Traveling across the country over the past six months I came here to say it’s become clear to me, this is not my time. So after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president effective today,” Pence said.
Pence distanced himself from his former boss, Donald Trump, in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021, riot on Capitol Hill. Transforming himself from a loyal ally of Trump to one of his most vocal detractors, Pence announced his campaign in June, promising to return the party to a “commonsense conservative agenda.”
For Pence, this agenda meant slashing spending at home and increasing funding for the conflict in Ukraine. This neoconservative position alienated Republican voters and led to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson excoriating Pence at a conservative conference in July.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Vice President,” Carlson told Pence after the latter suggested that President Joe Biden hadn’t sent enough military hardware to Kiev. “You’re distressed that the Ukrainians don’t have enough American tanks? Our economy has degraded, the suicide rate has jumped, public filth and disorder and crime have exponentially increased, and yet your concern is that the Ukrainians, a country most people can’t find on a map, don’t have enough tanks?”
As the audience applauded Carlson, Pence seemingly replied that these American issues were “not my concern.”
Trump, by contrast, has repeatedly promised to cut off military aid to Ukraine and force its president, Vladimir Zelensky, to negotiate a peace deal with Russia. Trump’s position on this and other issues is apparently far more popular with Republican voters, as an aggregate of recent polling compiled by FiveThirtyEight on Saturday showed 57% backing the former president for the GOP’s nomination, and only 3.8% supporting Pence.
After a slew of public appearances that failed to draw more than a few dozen supporters, Politico described his campaign last week as “sad” and “dwindling.” Pence’s most recent campaign filings showed that his team had just $1.18 million in funding left, along with $621,000 in debt, the Associated Press reported.
After announcing his withdrawal on Saturday, Pence said that he would continue to remain active in politics and would “never stop fighting to elect principled Republican leaders to every office in the land.”